PINning Our Hopes: Could Lily Burk Have Been Saved?

Lady Justice snorted in disgust on August 18 when Lily Burk’s alleged murderer, Charlie Samuel, stood with bowed head as a not guilty plea was entered at L.A. Superior Court.  I originally covered this story in August 3rd’s post, “Lady Justice Is Banking on Lily Burk’s Vindication.” In an effort to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future, L.A. City council member, Grieg Smith, proposed ATMs be programmed with a “duress code” – entering a PIN number in reverse would alert authorities of a robbery in progress. This idea has been around for some time, and the $25 associated with it would initially lead many to endorse it wholeheartedly.  Two problems – what if the PIN is a palindrome (6776, for example)?  Also, would a person under duress – say, at gunpoint – be able to quickly reverse those digits?